Biography

Richard Smith PhD

Biography

Richard Smith PhD

Biography

Richard Smith PhD

Biography

Richard Smith PhD

DR RICHARD SMITH combines an in-depth academic knowledge of the marine environment with a unique skill for capturing stunning images. The result is a wide and varied portfolio documenting this seldom-seen habitat. His aim is to educate and impassion people about the ocean through his images.

GETTING STARTED AS A MARINE BIOLOGIST | British born Richard learnt to dive in 1996 and has since logged over 3500 dives and training up to PADI Dive Master status. Diving allows Richard to indulge his love of natural history and through his skills as a photographer he is able to communicate his love to a wider audience. Richard graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree in Zoology from the University of Southampton, England in 2002 and an MSc in Marine Ecology and Evolution from the University of Queensland, Australia in 2005, for which he was also awarded the Dean’s Commendation for High Achievement.

PhD RESEARCH | In 2007 Richard began researching for his PhD on the biology and conservation of pygmy seahorses. His doctorate was awarded in April 2011 making his the first biological research, and first doctorate, on these diminutive fishes. His work focuses on the gorgonian associated species, Denise’s (Hippocampus denise) and Bargibant’s pygmy seahorses (Hippocampus bargibanti). Please browse his ‘Pygmy Seahorse Research’ blog for more information about these amazing animals. This work was carried out with much appreciated support from Wakatobi Dive Resort.

ONGOING MARINE CONSERVATION | In 2016, Richard was invited to join a small group of syngnathid researchers and conservationists in the IUCN Seahorse, Pipefish and Stickleback Specialist Group (SPSSG). The group is the recognised world authority of these fishes, and is dedicated to their conservation through the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC). This great honour allows Richard to use his technical expertise in the practical conservation of marine species and the environments they live in.

Finalist

Australian Geographic Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Finalist

Australian Geographic Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Finalist

Australian Geographic Wildlife Photographer of the Year

MARINE BIOLOGIST LED DIVING EXPEDITIONS | Richard started out at Wakatobi Dive Resort in southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia as in-house naturalist during his PhD research and later became the resident marine biologst aboard the liveaboard Dewi Nusantara around Raja Ampat, Indonesia. In 2013 Richard began to lead his own trips, which take groups of divers to some of the world’s best diving locations. The aim is for divers to get more from their diving by learning about the marine environment. Richard gives marine life talks during these charters on various aspects of marine biology. Richard is passionate that these trips, whilst visiting some of the planets most pristine marine environments also help to conserve them through local conservation efforts. To this end, some of the proceeds from his trips have made significant contributions to Save Our Seas Foundation, Marine Megafauna Foundation and Conservation International, the latter awarding Richard the honour of being an Emerald Circle donour, which is ‘a special community of donors who have made a significant commitment to advance CI’s work’. None of this would have been possible without the support of Richard’s guests, so thank you to them. To learn more about Richard’s trips, please visit his Expeditions page. Richard also leads ‘Expert Led Trips’ for British-based Dive Worldwide.

PUBLICATIONS & WRITING | Richard has written dozens of articles published internationally with a primary focus on conservation, marine life and travel. His work has been published in: Sport Diving (Australia), Alert Diver (USA), Asian Diver (Singapore), Scuba Diver AustralAsia, Scuba Diver TTL (global), Australian Geographic, Asian Geographic, two long-running series in Sport Diver UK – ‘Photographing Behaviour’ & ‘Critter Hunting’ and a column in Sport Diver USA ‘Species’, Dive Chronicles (USA), FiNS (Singapore), Action Asia, DIVE (UK), Diver (UK), Marine Conservation Society (UK), DivePhotoGuide (online),Richard Smith Sport Diving magazine cover photographs Tauchen (Germany), Wild Travel (UK), 72 & Rising (Online) and has contributed images to various books as well as exhibits in the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Richard also supports conservation initiatives such as ARKive, The Zoological Society of London, Conservation International’s – Bird’s Head Seascape Innitiative and EDGE of Existence (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered) with images and expertise.

PHOTOGRAPHY | Richard is a widely published and award-winning photographer. He has dozens of cover shots to his name and image portfolios published with high profile organisations such as Australian Geographic magazine. He has been a finalist in the Australian Geographic ANZANG Nature Photographer of the Year several times. Richard loves to hunt for rarely seen and seldom photographed marine creatures, in fact some of his images represent the only pictures of living, wild specimens. Explore his online image galleries in the ‘Photo Gallery’ section. Richard has also shot underwater fashion – click here to view the gallery.

VIDEOGRAPHY | Richard primarily shoots stills, but also enjoys capturing the moving image. His narrated documentary video ‘Raja Ampat: Diving the World’s Richest Reefs’ premiered at the Australia International Dive Expo in 2015. Please click to explore his YouTube channel.

PUBLIC SPEAKING | Richard is an engaging public speaker and has presented marine life lectures around the world for many years. He has presented at international SCUBA diving exhibitions in Australia, Asia (ADEX – Singapore) and UK (DIVE Show NEC) as well as dive clubs, galleries and other venues around the UK. In addition to his popular science-based presentations, he has also spoken at global scientific conferences including the quadrennial Indo-Pacific Fish Conferences in Perth, Western Australia and Okinawa, Japan.

All photographs featured on this website are available to buy as stock for editorial or advertising purposes on a worldwide basis. Richard’s images are represented by the specialist wildlife and nature image library, NHPA (part of the Photoshot group) as well as SeaPics.com – Marine picture agency. Richard is also available for commissions. Please contact him directly to discuss your requirements.